Apple releases iPhone 3G S; AT&T customers wait for tethering app

Apple formally announced the new iPhone 3G S (for speed) at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, promising improved speed and performance, longer battery life, a 3 megapixel camera, video recording and hands-free voice control and more than 100 new features, including data tethering.

According to Apple, the new iPhone 3G will offer speeds averaging up to twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, enabling speedier web page rendering and quicker applications launches. The device will also support 7.2 Mbps HSDPA technology for faster data speeds. Apple will release a 16GB edition of the iPhone 3G S at $199 and a 32GB version priced at $299--in addition, it will slash the price on the current 8GB iPhone 3G to $99.

iPhone 3G S will arrive June 19 at Apple and AT&T retail stores in the U.S, as well as Best Buy and Wal-Mart locations--Apple notes that the smartphone will ultimately roll out in more than 80 countries in the weeks ahead. The iPhone OS 3.0 software update will be available June 17 as a free software update via iTunes 8.2 or later for all iPhone customers--iPod touch customers will be required to pay $9.95.

Still questions remain over when AT&T customers will be able to access at least two features on the new iPhone: data tethering and MMS. According to the New York Times, Apple suggested that AT&T was delaying its support for tethering and MMS. An AT&T spokesman told the publication that the operator would roll out both data tethering and MMS soon, but declined to say when. The spokesman added that the delay didn't have anything to do with network issues, but he wouldn't comment on why AT&T is so slow to adopt these features than other carriers. Back in November, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said that an official iPhone tethering option would be announced, but gave no time frame for such announcement.

For more:
- see FierceMobileContent
- read the New York Times

Related articles:
AT&T to offer official iPhone 3G tethering app
iPhone tethering app pulled minutes after debut, restored again

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